411 Movies Interview: Christy Carlson Romano of Even Stevens and The Cutting Edge 3 Posted by Tony Farinella on 04.11.2008
411's Tony Farinella sits down with Christy Carlson Romano for an exclusive interview!
Christy Carlson Romano is probably best known for her role on Even Stevens as Ren Stevens, the older sister of Louis Stevens, played by Shia LaBeouf. That being said, she's been very, very busy since Even Stevens. Not only is she an actress, but she's also in the music industry as well. In my interview with Christy Carlson Romano, we talked about her new film, The Cutting Edge 3, Even Stevens, Hollywood, the Internet, and a whole lot more. I hope you enjoy my interview with Christy Carlson Romano. The Cutting Edge 3 is currently out on DVD.
TONY: What it's like to be a part of such a positive franchise for teenage girls?
Christy Carlson Romano: It's been a lot like a lot of the stuff that I've done. I've been really lucky to be able to be a part of a lot of that. Kim Possible was like that, Even Stevens was like that, and Beauty and the Beast was like that. Basically anything that I've done that has to do with ABC Family or Disney has always been really positive. And it's always really positive for women, too, which I find really interesting. So I've been really luck to be a part of this franchise.
TONY: How much preparation did you do for this film, and how did you get in the mindset of a coach?
Christy Carlson Romano:: Not as much as you would think. I did a lot of preparation for the last one, so this one was not as much. It was like, "OK, Christy, you don't really have to skate in this movie; we just want you there because you were there the last time." And I'm like, "Well, OK, then I'm here." (laughs) But this character was very challenging, because she was aged up a lot; she was aged up into her mid-twenties. I mean, she was a lot younger before; she was like 20, 21 before, and then in this one, she's like 26 and she's got all these issues. And that was kind of hard. I love the characters I play, and when you come back to them, I've never actually gotten a chance, well besides with Ren Stevens, I did that with Even Stevens, but it's very, very different.
TONY: What was it like working with Francia Raisa? I interviewed her a couple of days ago, and she seems like such a sweetheart.
Christy Carlson Romano: She's actually one of my dear friends. She's really sweet, and I love her to death. I saw her yesterday, and she's just so cool. She was working really, really hard, and she proved herself really well with this. And she actually has a new TV show coming out with ABC Family. It's pretty cool, and I'm excited for her. She's working really hard, so I think it's great.
TONY: When you're not working on a film, what kind of sports do you play?
Christy Carlson Romano: I don't really like sports. I think if there's any sport that I found out that I actually really enjoy, it is figure skating. Figure skating is so much easier to watch, and I realized that after doing all of these that you can actually watch it. And the reason why people like Cutting Edge 3 and Cutting Edge 2, I believe, is because the way that they shoot it and the way that we're skating while they shoot it, it's awesome, because when you watch the movie, there's that sense of ease with it. The camera's moving, the actors are moving. The scenes that we have are actually on ice while we're skating. It's unbelievable. It clicked in my head as to why people really enjoy watching figure skating: It's something to do with being taken away and watching the way that they film it and just having this beautiful, magical journey with two people. And I really think it's beautiful, and I look forward to the Olympics so that I can watch what goes down this year. There's always drama. I was telling the last interviewer the reason why Cutting Edge is so realistic and the reason why they keep doing it is because it's true: People keep falling in love. It didn't just happen once in Cutting Edge ... it happens all the time with doubles partners. They get together, there's drama, they go with other partners, they get together, there's drama. It's like a whole series of things that happen, so it's quite prevalent for something like this to happen.
TONY: You mentioned earlier in this interview how you have been able to find positive work in Hollywood for young girls. Would you say that the work finds you, or do you find the work?
Christy Carlson Romano: Oh, that's a good one. I think they find me; I think it's both. I think that I'm lucky to have good people who represent me and understand what I wanna do. Also, I have the support of people at Disney. From the top down, I have support. We're definitely working on what that means for me, and I'm in constant contact with people who I've worked with in the past. It's a constant process, but I really like working for Disney. It's something that I look forward to, in the future, doing.
TONY: When I heard I was going to interview you, I did a lot of research on your career and I read a lot of your previous interviews. One thing that I noticed from reading your MySpace blog and from reading previous interviews is that you have a strong sense of self. You're not afraid to speak your mind about different topics in Hollywood. How do you maintain that strong sense of self in Hollywood?
Christy Carlson Romano: Oh, god, it's not easy, I'll tell you that much. It's like this: It's not the easiest thing to keep your head on straight in this town. How do you do it? Well, you go crazy a little bit. You go a little crazy, and then maybe you don't go crazy. But it's not crazy in the way that you think. You don't go crazy by shaving your head ...you go crazy because you need to find people who get it, who understand what you're about. And once you find your community of friends .... but I really believe that Hollywood is just like everywhere else. The kind of people that are here ... they're harder to shift through, because there's a lot of people in this city, and, at the same time, a lot of them, most of them, about 98 percent of them are here for this industry, and you don't get a chance to meet different people. Everybody is somehow involved in the business, so everyone's like, "Well, how can I use this person? How can I use that person?" So, I think just me being from the East Coast has really taught me how to be very upfront and very like, "This is who I am, this is what I'm about." But what I'm saying is I've learned that that's not the best way to go ... to be just really bull-headed and strong and defensive about things. That tough girl thing doesn't really work 100 percent of the time, especially when you're out here. So I've kind of chilled out a lot, but, at the same time, L.A. is an interesting place ... that's all I can say.
TONY: You started out in the industry at a very, very young age. What's it like to go back and watch some of your old footage? What's it like watching yourself grow up on film? Do you ever say to yourself, "Wow, I can't believe how much I have changed?"
Christy Carlson Romano: Oh, my god, yeah. I did that last night, I do that every day. Every day, lately, I've had this quarter-life crisis, as I call it, going on in my mind where I'm like, "Wait a minute, I'm 24. I'm young? No, I'm old. I'm young? No. I'm old." You really just have to be happy in the skin that you're in when you have it, because people keep telling me, "Christy, you have one life, it's really short, so stop being upset. It's all good." And that's the way it is. It really is all good. I went to India about a month or so ago, and I was there for ten days, and I saw so much poverty. And it was totally fine. The quality of life, the average quality of life, it's not a problem if you don't have shoes. And that, to me, blew my mind. But it blew my mind in a way where I was like, "Wow, what are we complaining about?" Really, what are people complaining about here when they have so much opportunity and a quality of life that is the best in the whole world? It doesn't get better than what we have, and I've always been very pro-American in that way. I wouldn't call it Republican or Democrat, I'm just very pro-America, because it's just such an amazing place. So, I really think that just living in the skin that you're in and being happy with what you've been blessed with and given and living with great gratitude is really good.
TONY: When I interviewed Rider Strong from Boy Meets World, he told me that it's somewhat difficult to be taken seriously in other avenues after you have been on a kid's show for so long. Have you had any problems like that since Even Stevens? Is it pretty difficult?
Christy Carlson Romano: No, it isn't, because there's a lot of people out here who all want the same job. The reason why I haven't necessarily got out there with some serious roles, like the one in Cutting Edge 3 ...I actually have worked quite a bit on independent films and stuff like that, and theater, where I've had serious roles. Also, for me, when I did Beauty and the Beast, I came back out here and people were like, "Oh, my god, you starred on Broadway? That's intense." I'm like, "Well, yeah." And I didn't think anything of it, because I'm from New York. And I'm like, "Yeah, I did Broadway, and I'm here to do Hollywood. I'm here to check it off my list." But it's totally different. But at the same time, it's not about people not taking you seriously. I've never had a problem with people not taking me seriously. If anything, people take me too seriously. But I'm very grateful for the support that I do have.
TONY: When you were working on Even Stevens with Shia LaBeouf, did you have any idea that he would go on to have all of this success?
Christy Carlson Romano: Yes, we did. See, here's the thing, Even Stevens was very, very successful, and, at the same time, it had competition. It really had some other things. If you were gonna compare it to Malcolm in the Middle, there was competition there. But we were daytime television and we had our own competition; we had Lizzie McGuire that we were sort of competing with. And the network just wanted a successful show, and they got one. They really, really got one. But our show was more successful with college kids and older people, and the reason why it's still successful and people still talk about it is because they grew into it. And it's still a popular show. People talk about it, and people will talk about it for years and years and years now. And it's almost like a classic. Did I know it was gonna be a classic? Heck no. I thought, "OK, it's a good show now." Because it really, really was. It was a very sophisticated show for a kid's show, and it had a lot of competition, so it didn't necessarily get, in my opinion .... it got a lot of publicity, though. I mean, it's not that it wasn't publicized ... just, for some reason, it didn't catch on as much as Lizzie McGuire did. We didn't have like a feature movie on it. And I think I like it that way. I think that Even Stevens did exactly what it was supposed to do, because, now, people still talk about it, Shia's very successful, and everybody else is still in the business working. We all sort of talk, and when I see Shia, we're friendly. I mean, he's awesome, and I'm so, so proud of him.
TONY: I know you have a strong presence on the Internet and you talk to a lot of your fans through MySpace.
Christy Carlson Romano: Are you a friend of mine? (laughs)
TONY: I'm actually going to add you right after this interview.
Christy Carlson Romano: Good! OK, I'll take care of that. (laughs)
TONY: How do you manage your presence on the Internet?
Christy Carlson Romano: I have a very good webmaster who handles my stuff that's online. She's a fan but also a friend and almost family, and that's what it takes: It takes a full team of people. You cannot be alone ... you need some support, and you need a team. It's impossible to do this kind of career by yourself. And I'm lucky to have that. I have a lot of support from my family, my state, my friends all support me, and it's good. It's good to have all that support.
TONY: How do you stay positive in Hollywood? It's a great place, don't get me wrong, but sometimes it's filled with negativity. How do you stay on the right path?
Christy Carlson Romano: Well, you just focus on your goal, I guess. I really didn't have a choice in the matter, because this business chose me when I was very, very young, and since then, I've chosen to stay here. So it was a choice, and I've never really felt pushed into anything for a very long time, because I went to school. After Even Stevens, I went to college. I did the college thing, and I did the normal people thing. And then I was like ... you know what? 9 to 5, not gonna do it. Not ever gonna be able to do it. I wanna sleep in until 10 before I have a series of phone interviews on Tuesday ... Wednesday. Today's Wednesday ... see? I don't even really know the day. And this is a great life. I live in the most beautiful city, and I wouldn't give it up easily, let's put it that way. And it's my life. And I'm having a love affair with my carer. My girlfriends tell me that, and it's good because my girlfriends are very like-minded, because in this town, you can get sucked up with other people and relationships. And, believe me, I've been out here for a while now, and I've been down those roads. But I stopped, because I'm smart enough to be like, "You know what? I'm not gonna go down that dirty, dusty road ... I'm gonna go down the very nicely lit road." Because it just makes sense. Where I've come from, how hard I've worked, my religion, my family, my faith in general, it won't let me go there. It just won't.
TONY: And, finally, since we are both Italian, I have to ask you about your favorite Italian foods. Do you have a favorite?
Christy Carlson Romano: Are you kidding me? (laughs) If you come out to L.A., you've gotta go to Dan Tana's. This is the problem about Italian food: You really only like your family's Italian food. So you go everywhere else, and you're like, "It's just not mom's." Because we all have secret recipes. We really, really do, and that's so cool. Mine was passed down from my grandma, and my mom is not Italian, but she's an honorary Italian, because she lived with my dad for thirty years, and they had an Italian bakery in Connecticut. It was a big thing. But I love meatballs and chicken cutlets.